I Switched to a Men's Razor (And You Should, Too)

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With spring just around the corner (happy March, everyone!), it's really got me thinking about getting my legs out in shorts and dresses soon. And every year I dread shaving my legs (I know I don't *have* to, I just prefer it for myself). In recent years I have developed some kind of sensitivity to shaving/removing the hair on my legs - I end up with the ITCHIEST legs ever, and it's borderline unbearable. I had tried razor after razor and shaving cream after shaving cream, and nothing was helping. So when the lovely people at Harry's reached out and offered to send me a Shaving Set to try, I thought I had nothing to lose.

Harry's is a razor subscription service - you pick your razor and the frequency of deliveries, so you'll never be without a fresh blade again. I love this aspect because I've been stuck with no razor blades because I forgot to pick some up while grocery shopping more often than not. And because Harry's sells directly from their factory in Germany, they're able to charge lower prices per blade - most razors cost around $4 or more per blade, while Harry's are $2 or less. I'm always horrifically whiney at having to drop another $25 on a pack of razor blade refills, so this lower price is oh so welcome. You can also buy the razors and refill cartridges on their own without a subscription, but you will save money if you subscribe. You can start a free trial here and only pay $3 shipping.

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But what about the quality? Well, I'll just say I've been blown away. I've been using women's razors the whole time I've been shaving, and I've often heard they just don't compare to men's (despite usually being more expensive). Harry's has really proven that - they show that sometimes simpler really is better. I think all the extra lotion bars and shaving cream strips were just crowding my old razors and cutting down on their effectiveness. With Harry's, each cartridge has five blades and a lubricating strip, and that's it. It gives me an incredibly close shave on my legs, and the flex hinge is perfect for maneuvering around the ankles and knees without cutting myself up.

I chose the Winston handle for my kit, and it's just beautiful - weighty and easy to hold. The kit also came with the Foaming Shave Gel, which I've also been enjoying using. It's "sticky" enough to not run off my legs before I can get to razor on them, but not so much that I can't rinse it off the razor. It smells quite masculine, but I really like the scent and it doesn't linger. The best part, I've found, of this new system is that I haven't had any awful itchy-leg reactions. Not at all. So hooray for me to actually be able to shave my legs without turning into some kind of rash-troll this spring and summer, all thanks to Harry's. 

Have you ever tried Harry's, or men's razors in general? How do you think they compare?

I was sent the Harry's Winston Shaving Set for the purpose of this review, but all opinions and results are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.


The Monthly Review | February

I'm so glad February passed by more quickly than January. I'm not a huge fan of winter once Christmas is over, so I'm happy to see February go and for spring to come. February was a pretty great month for me though, and I'm hoping I can continue that streak through March.

BEAUTY

I'll start off with beauty again this month - I began the month by putting myself on a spending ban, but I majorly failed. I'm done with spending bans because I'm pretty sure I always end up buying more than I probably would have if I was "allowed" to spend money on myself. Anyway, there were a few gems this month. I fell head over heels for the Jouer Powder Highlighter in Rose Quartz - it's such a buttery smooth formula that's a little intense, but it's easy to apply lightly for a more natural glow. The end of the month also marked the return of Glossier Haloscope in Moonstone, and since it's no longer a limited edition shade, I finally allowed myself to fall in love with mine. The Haloscopes are my absolute favorite highlighters, and Moonstone gives the perfect opalescent glow. Speaking of Glossier, I re-fell in love with the Stretch Concealer once I tried applying it with a damp Beautyblender - seriously, give it a try (and get 20% off your first Glossier order here!). And for lips, I've been going back and forth between the Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo in Activist (review) and the By Terry Baume de Rose every day.

BOOKS, MUSIC, & TV

I'm still working my way through reading A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. Seriously, as much as I love these books, they take me forever to get through. While I'm relaxing at home I like things that are a little easier to read, and I've read through Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey several times this month. It's just such a beautiful collection of poems, and I usually am not a huge poetry-reader. I've also been reading Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham, and it's so great to get some behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Gilmore Girls. There really was no other person who could play Lorelai Gilmore.

For music, I listened to mostly the same playlist that I linked last month and the La La Land Soundtrack, but I've been listening to Lana del Rey's new song nonstop since it came out. It's inspired me to go back and listen to her other albums too - I still know every song from Born to Die and the Paradise Edition by heart, but I need to listen to Ultraviolence and Honeymoon more.

Brett and I were so psyched for The Walking Dead to come back this month - it's one of our favorite shows to watch together. So far I'm really enjoying this season and can't wait to see if Rick can finally beat Negan. Another zombie-related show we watched together was Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix - we watched the whole thing this past weekend and loved it. It was so funny and although it was pretty gross at times, it was never unwatchable. We can't believe what a cliffhanger it ended on, so we're looking forward to Season 2.

This isn't a book, music, or a TV show, but I've also been loving the return of the You Must Remember This podcast. It's so well-researched and so interesting. Right now there's a series called "Dead Blondes" - all about blonde actresses that died too soon or tragically. I think my favorite episode from the series so far was the one on Thelma Todd, who I hadn't even heard of before. If you're into Old Hollywood and podcasts, You Must Remember This is definitely one to check out.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

I love doing this section of these posts - this month started out on a great note when I got my dream wedding dress! It was actually only my first appointment, so I wasn't expecting to buy a dress at all. But I fell head over heels with the first dress I tried on - the consultant really understood what I was looking for. I tried on five or six dresses afterward, but nothing compared to the first. I also got the first veil I tried on, too! Although the dress and veil are by different designers, they look like they were made to go together. I can't wait for them to both come in!

I also got my fourth tattoo, a couple peonies on my shoulder. It's not done yet, but I'm already so so happy with it. The artist's Instagram is here if you're interested - her work is stunning, and I'm hoping to get a few more flowers by her on my arm to make a kind of half-sleeve. My plan is to get lilacs next.

This month was also great because Brett had two Mondays off from the Police Academy - having him around for an extra night after the weekend and being able to cook dinner together was such a nice treat. He only has one more month at the academy left, and then he'll be home every night! I can't wait.

I'm hoping March will be the month that we pick our wedding venue and when I can finally stick to some sort of exercise regimen (and also a budget), but no promises.

What were the highlights of your month?


On Switching to "Simple" Skincare Products

I had a hard time coming up with a name for this post - I'm just not exactly sure what to call these kinds of skincare products I've fallen for lately. Rather than reaching for several lotions and potions that claim to do it all, I've been building my skincare routine around simplified formulas, changing it up depending on how my skin is feeling and what its needs are for that particular morning/night.

This philosophy dawned on me with the release of Glossier's The Supers.* It was really the first time the thought, "You're not just a skin type," from their ads, had even occurred to me. Three serums with one or two main active ingredients, meant to be used whenever you feel like you need them? I'm sold. Super Pure comes in handy around that time of the month when my skin is freaking out, while Super Glow is perfect for early mornings when my skin could use a little more energy. And Super Bounce is the one I reach for the most - whenever my skin is feeling parched.

A similar line of simplified skincare is the much-talked about brand from Deciem, The Ordinary. Like The Supers, these products all have one or two main ingredients so you can curate a whole routine. It's so easy to customize - they have a large range of products with detailed scientific descriptions, and everything is so affordable. I've recently been trying the Advanced Retinoid 2% and the Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%. I've already noticed positive results in my skin - I use the Retinoid around every other night, and then I use the Lactic Acid a few times a week (always on a night I'm not using the Retinoid).

Once I had a set of serums I could use to "customize" my routine depending on what my skin was needing, I also wanted some simple products to seal it all in and to add in here and there. A good, basic cream is a necessity for my perpetually-dry skin, and the Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich* works wonders. I love that I can use it with any combination of products without worrying about it reacting with anything. It's just a good, basic cream - the kind of thing everyone could use in their skincare collection.

For extras, I turn to Drunk Elephant - their formulations are free of "skin-sensitizing" ingredients, like silicones and perfumes. Any time I need a face oil I've been reaching for the Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil - like the Glossier cream, it's just a good basic that works with everything and is ultra-nourishing. And rather than using a plethora of masks every week, I've only been using the TLC Sukari Babyfacial - this stuff is the most amazing, and definitely worthy of all the hype it's been receiving. I use it once per week, and I really look forward to my "Babyfacial day" (Wednesday if you want to know) every week. It sloughs away dead skin and leaves it fresh, glowing, and never irritated. I feel like it just gives me a clean slate to start the whole process over again.

I think my skin has been really responding well to using simpler formulas targeted to its specific needs. It's also made me get a lot more in touch with my skin, so much that I can now easily tell what will and won't work for it. Do you like using more simple, single-use skincare products, or do you prefer the heavyhitters that do a lot at once?

You can shop my Glossier favorites through my rep page here for 20% off your first order!


Intro to Seoul Apothecary | Haul + First Impressions

Over the past few months I've really fallen head over heels for all things K-Beauty. Everything I've tried has worked extremely well for my skin, and the multi-step routine has really kicked up the glow factor. When the lovely people at Seoul Apothecary reached out and asked if I'd like to try some products from the site, I jumped at the chance. The website is absolutely beautiful to look at, and I was drawn in right away. Seoul Apothecary is a curation of Korean skincare products with the aim to make them accessible to all. They will design a kit of products especially for your skin type and make sure you have all you need to use the products correctly. After letting them know my skin type and concerns, they sent me a collection of products made just for me.

Tosowoong Enzyme Powder WashI haven't tried many powder cleansers before, but I love the idea. This one is pH balanced so it won't strip your skin, and it turns into a lovely soft froth when mixed with water. The grains gently exfoliate the skin, too. It leaves my skin feeling super clean (but not "squeaky"), so I love using it as a second cleanse after a long day at work. It's also a great way to jump start the day.

Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence Mist I've mentioned before on the blog how much I love the non-mist version of this, so it's no surprise that this has become a fast favorite. The mist is so fine and super refreshing - I've still been using the regular essence at night, but the mist in the morning because it just feels so nice. It really helps smooth out my skin, keep it hydrated and glowing, and soothes redness. I've noticed it really helps the skincare products I apply afterwards sink into my skin and just work better.

Mizon Good Night White Sleeping MaskLately my skin has just been so dry and tight no matter what I do, so adding another hydrating step into my routine was something I was keen to try. The Good Night White Sleeping Mask is a rich yet gel-like cream that I apply as the last step of my skincare routine at night. My skin is really loving it, and it's really been helping it stay hydrated not only throughout the night but also throughout the day. It leaves my skin feeling and looking super plump, bright, and hydrated. 

They also sent along a few sheet masks - the SNP Animal Panda Mask, the Leaders Aquaringer Mask, and the Tosowoong Pure Propolis Mask. I haven't gotten the chance to try them out yet, but every sheet mask I've tried has worked wonders for my skin. I'm super excited to try these out, and I fully trust Seoul Apothecary's judgement because the other three products they sent me have been great for my skin.

Have you ordered from Seoul Apothecary before? What are your favorite K-Beauty products?

All products mentioned have been sent to me for consideration, but all opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.


Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets | Review + Swatches

I haven't tried much from Burberry Beauty so far, but what I have tried has been beautiful. So when an email from Influenster popped into my inbox a couple weeks ago saying I'd be receiving the Burberry VoxBox showcasing the new Liquid Lip Velvets, I was over the moon and anxiously awaited its arrival. The box came with two additional Burberry products, but this review will focus on the Lip Velvets.

I was sent the Liquid Lip Velvets* in the shades Fawn No. 5, a rosy brown, and Bright Plum No. 49, a lovely plum/berry shade. The Lip Velvets are meant to be a whipped, creamy formula that promises to be both bold and comfortable. Whoever came up with the name "Lip Velvet" was certainly right - these literally feel like velvet gliding on your lips. It's a mousse-y texture that's a far cry from drying, runny liquid lipsticks. The "drier" texture makes them so much easier to work with and control. One of the other products included in the box was a lip liner to match Bright Plum, but these are so easy to apply that I don't even feel like I need the liner. Liquid lipsticks that have this "mousse" formula tend to be my favorites (like Ofra and Jouer), so I knew instantly I'd love these. 

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Fawn is just the perfect everyday shade. It's just a touch darker and slightly more brown than my natural lip color, so it makes for a subtle color that's still noticeable. Bright Plum is just beautiful, too - at first I thought it was a little too out of my comfort zone, but the plum shade has the perfect balance of depth and brightness to it. It looks stunning with glowy skin and minimal eye makeup (my favorite look to pair with a bold lip). 

Usually a liquid lipstick formula as comfortable as this spells disaster for its longevity, but these still have an impressive weartime. I can get about five hours of wear before I notice them fading, and I need to reapply after eating. They fade evenly and don't get crusty or crumbly like some formulas do. And because these are so lightweight, they're easy to reapply and don't crack or flake off. I've definitely found another favorite formula, and while I was thinking I was over matte lips, these might have just changed my mind. I'm definitely going to need to add Dark Rosewood No. 17 and Black Cherry No. 57 to my collection.

Have you tried the Lip Velvets yet?

*Products have been sent to me by Influenster for review, but all opinions are my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.


Hourglass First Impressions | Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush Palette & GIRL Lip Stylos

I always forget what a stunning brand Hourglass is. I've only tried a few products from the range so far, but I've fallen head over heels for all of them. The release of the new GIRL Lip Stylos really caught my eye, being a lip product junkie and all that, so it inspired me to pick a couple new things from the brand to try. In the end I came away with two shades of the Lip Stylos and the newest blush palette.

Ambient Strobe Lighting Blush PaletteHourglass blushes are some of my favorites - I have the full size of Mood Exposure and wear it almost every time I go for a powder blush, and I used to have the first blush palette as well. When I saw the new blush palette, I knew I needed it - all three shades appealed to me. There's Incandescent Electra, a brightening coral shade that's in the permanent collection, Brilliant Nude, a warm nude shade that adds a lot of life to the face, and Euphoric Fusion, a stunning subtle purple shade that adds a lovely flush. The palette has the same beautiful formula as the full-size blushes, being super soft to the touch and finely-milled. These blushes are swirled together with the Strobe Lighting Powders, making these a little bit more glowy than the original blushes. They're not glittery at all though and really bring life to the skin. So far I'm loving the palette, though I'd suggest checking the marbling before buying - I wish my Brilliant Nude pan had more of the blush shade and less of the highlight shade.

T-B | Incandescent Electra, Brilliant Nude, Euphoric Fusion, Activist, Liberator

T-B | Incandescent Electra, Brilliant Nude, Euphoric Fusion, Activist, Liberator

GIRL Lip StyloI'm pretty much over the matte lip trend at the moment and have been gravitating towards more creamy, comfortable lipsticks. The GIRL Lip Stylos really caught my eye because of the promise to be as intense as a lipstick but still be soft and hydrating on the lips. I absolutely love the positivity of the shade names, too. I first went for Activist, a lovely rose shade (it would have worked nicely in my Valentine's Day Lipstick Edit), and I immediately fell in love with the formula. I went right back to Sephora that day to pick another shade. I'll segue here into the fact that every single shade in the line is beautiful - The Beauty Look Book and Makeup Sessions have the full line swatched on their blogs. It was so hard to pick a second shade, but in the end and after much swatching and asking my fiancee's opinion (thank you, Brett), I came away with Liberator, a super pretty berry shade. The formula is super pigmented and creamy, and yet they last a good amount of time on the lips - about four hours without eating. They fade evenly as well, and they do not dry out the lips. Because of their creamy texture, they're also easy to sheer out, making them even more versatile - I love wearing Liberator as a more sheer stain. I pretty much have every single shade on my wishlist now, and they're my favorite lip products at the moment.

Have you tried either of these new Hourglass products?